Bokuto wasn’t sure of the last time he’d been this excited for school. Honestly, he’d probably never really been exited for school. Maybe school volleyball practice or lunch time when he was at school, but never actual school.
Not that he was really excited about school now, but he was excited about school starting.
School starting, no, specifically college starting, meant moving into dorms. Specifically, moving into dorms with Kuroo.
This was his chance to finally, FINALLY make something happen. He wasn’t going to let this chance get away from him. They’d gotten to spend more time together since their last high school training camp, but it still wasn’t enough for Bokuto.
Neither was all the texting and phone calls. Nor the, now occasional, flower deliveries. Bokuto’s heart jumped at that. Now he could surprise Kuroo with flowers or dinner at their home. And maybe some not so platonic massages. Or something!
College was going to be great.
Well. Maybe not the studying part. Or the getting up early for classes. But the rooming with Kuroo and playing volleyball would be.
Maybe this really would be Bokuto’s chance.
A chance for something to happen. Something like that time when he’d spent the night at Kuroo’s. Bokuto was friendly enough. He could make excuses to cuddle and make it just seem friendly if he needed to. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary at all.
Maybe Bokuto had been staying up late reading too many college au fanfics. But, hey, even though it was fiction there had to be some truth in there somewhere, right?
Though. Bokuto wasn’t quite convinced that Kuroo would be into him. Kuroo did spend all his time with Kenma. Like, all of it. Even sometimes when it was bro time.
Not that Bokuto didn’t like Kenma. He liked everyone. He just kind of wondered if Kuroo and Kenma had something going on. Since Bokuto had known Kuroo, he hadn’t ever admitted to dating anyone. Or really even liking anyone.
Or saying he even found someone attractive.
Except for that one time Kuroo admitted Akaashi was pretty.
Bokuto frowned. Maybe Kuroo did pine for Akaashi?
Nah. There’s no way. Akaashi IS gorgeous, but they still don’t spend time together. Ever. Akaashi avoids him too. He calls Kuroo a pain in the ass!
Bokuto did a whole-body shake to get his fears away. If Kuroo did have feelings for anyone it would have to be Kenma. Bokuto just had to figure it out soon so he didn’t interfere. Just because Bokuto wanted to be with Kuroo didn’t mean that he wouldn’t take Kuroo’s feelings into account. If Kuroo loved Kenma, or Akaashi, or anyone, Bokuto would wish the best for them and cry in the corner by himself. Baby would just have to deal with the corner.
Bokuto viscously shook the idea from his head.
Now’s no time to think negative thoughts like that.
He pushed the door open of his new dorm room he’d share with Kuroo.
Kuroo was already there. Shirtless. Covered in a spilled drink.
Lord help me for I am a weak man.
. . .
After the initial shock of seeing Kuroo mostly naked, and then realization that he was probably going to see Kuroo mostly naked more often now that they lived together, wore off, Bokuto was ready for some not so platonically aimed bonding time.
Homo time, not bro time.
“Kuroo! Come watch a movie with me!” Bokuto whined from their mini living room.
They had one of those dorms that was slightly more than just a bed. The door opened to a room about fifteen by eight feet that held a mini, even by Tokyo standards, kitchen and living area. There were two doors leading to each of their very, very tiny bedrooms that were, in turn, connected by a shared bathroom. It wasn’t much, but it was loads better than the older dorms that were only one room for two people that shared a bathroom with another room.
At least they had some privacy. Though, Bokuto wasn’t sure if that would be a blessing or a curse yet.
Then again, it was hard to jerk it to your bro, when your bro was in the room. Not very classy either. The continued eye contact would’ve made it weird. The accidental slip of a name would’ve been catastrophic.
“Sure, bro!” Kuroo hopped onto the mini couch with Bokuto.
Just as planned.
“What about Spaced Invaders?”
About halfway through the movie, Bokuto makes popcorn. Kuroo, of course, like any sane human wants some. They’re college students. They don’t have large popcorn bowls to share. They don’t want to do dishes. Or wash the dishes they do have. So naturally, Bokuto uses this as an excuse to cozy up next to Kuroo so they can both eat out of the bag.
By the end of the movie, Kuroo is laying on his back on the couch, Bokuto is on his stomach on top of him, the popcorn is long forgotten, and Bokuto is feigning sleep in hopes to make this last longer.
Probably not the most cunning move, but it worked so well for him last time.
Kuroo puts on another movie and moves subtly to a more comfortable position.
“Bo. Bo.” He whispers.
Bokuto doesn’t move.
Kuroo doesn’t say or do anything else for a while. Bokuto is actually starting to drift off to sleep when he feels Kuroo’s hand run through his hair softly and then gently rest on his back. Bokuto takes this chance to snuggle closer to Kuroo and squeeze him.
“You shithead. You are awake.”
Bokuto picks feigning sleep again, but Kuroo jabs him in the ribs.
“Yeoooww!” Bokuto cries and rolls off Kuroo and the couch, landing on the mostly empty popcorn bag.
“Dammit, dude. I’ve had to piss for the last hour, but I thought your heavy ass was passed the fuck out.” Kuroo jumps up and runs to the bathroom.
Bokuto remains on the floor just smiling up at the ceiling.
No way hair stroking counts as bro things. Maybe I should ask Keiji?
. . .
“Keiji, would you let me run my hands through your hair?”
Akaashi squints at him on the screen. Bokuto had facetimed him as soon as he’d managed to pry himself off the floor. “What?”
“Okay. Say we’re both on a couch. Except horizontal.”
Akaashi squints harder on him and the disgust starts to show on his face.
Bokuto rolls his eyes. “Cuddling. On top of each other. Would you, or would you let me, run hands through hair?”
“Are you trying to tell me Kuroo-san didn’t want you to run his hands through his hair? Is this why you woke me up? And why you’re hiding in what looks like the dorm hallway?”
“No! Well, yes about the dorm hallway part, but no on the other thing. I was pretending to sleep on top of him—"
Akaashi pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs.
“—when he started to run his hand through my hair. What does it mean?” Bokuto whines at the screen.
“Probably that your pointy hair was stabbing him in the face.” Akaashi rolls his eyes and sighs again. “Or that you’re super gay for each other and need to get on with it. Just bone already.”
“But what if he’s into you or Kenma?” Bokuto whines back. “We never figured that out!”
Akaashi takes a deep annoyed breath before lowering his phone down to reveal his shirtless torso littered with marks and scratches. Further down, Kenma was fast asleep wearing one of Akaashi’s oversized shirts and clutching the arm Akaashi wasn’t using.
“Whaaa? Why didn’t you tell me that! I’ve been worried this whole time! Besides, I thought we were friends! You’ve been dating Kenma and didn’t even tell me!” Bokuto huffs and gives a pout feeling betrayed on multiple levels.
“It. This is a recent development.” His eyes flicker down to Kenma and he gives a soft smile. “That’s why you didn’t know.” He looks back at Bokuto’s face on screen and deadpans. “Now there’s no excuse for you to not confess.”
“Just because you two are dating that doesn’t help me if he’s in love with one of you!” Bokuto furrows his eyebrows together. “Oh god. Or both! Why wouldn’t he be in love with both of you? You’re both awesome pretty setters!”
Akaashi’s attention darts back to Kenma and a hand covers the screen. When it’s removed a sleepy, and rather grumpy, Kenma is revealed.
“Kuro knows everything I do. He’s not in love with either of us. Now shut up and go confess or something. You’re interrupting my cuddle time with Keiji.”
“Ohoho? Just cuddle time?” Bokuto winks back.
Kenma glares back at him before turning the camera, pulling Akaashi down to kiss him on the lips, and ending the call.
That was cold as hell, but they’re so cute together!
“Bo?” Kuroo peers out from their dorm room door. No doubt he’d heard Bokuto trying not to yell into the phone in duress and then excitement. He steps out and finds him huddling in one of the corners in the hallway. “Whaaat aarree you doin’ out there, buddy?” He calls softly, crossing his arms and giving Bokuto a puzzled look as if this was the strangest thing he’d ever caught him doing. Spoiler: it wasn’t. They didn’t speak about that anymore. They had a blood oath and everything.
“Uhh. Calling Keiji.” Bokuto tries to innocently reply before standing up and brushing his shorts out to hide his face.
“Oh.” Kuroo’s face falls. “How, uh. How did that go? Find out anything interesting?”
A lot of things. None of them actually help me though, so in one sense, no. Nothing.
He gives a small chuckle and claps a hand on Kuroo’s shoulder. “Kenma’s a biter apparently!”
Kuroo’s face scrunches up making him look ugly. Well. An adorable ugly. Kind of. “Dude. Ew. I could’ve lived without knowing that.”
“And now you do.” Bokuto holds an invisible microphone out to Kuroo. “Tell me, Kuroo, my broest of bros, how does this newly obtained information make you feel?”
“Well~” Kuroo pulls Bokuto’s hand that’s holding the fake mic toward his mouth to talk into it. “Not only am I disgusted beyond repair despite them both being adorable sacks of shit, I mostly feel like it’s time for some ramen since somebody needed to render me immobile for the last two hours despite my biological needs demanding otherwise.”
I’ve got all your biological needs right here.
A door creaks open down the hall and a sleepy floor mate steps halfway out. “Shut up! You two never stop!” They groan before slamming the door shut.
Bokuto and Kuroo stare at each other for a moment before bursting out into laughter.
. . .
Bokuto spends the next few days watching Kuroo. Not in like a creepy stalker way or an unrequited pining way, although that was there too, but in a concerned friend way. And also for information gathering. He needed to know if he was upset about Akaashi and Kenma dating. If he wasn’t, well, then maybe Bokuto had a chance. Possibly. Unless someone else had wormed their way into Kuroo’s heart without Bokuto realizing it.
“Bro, is there something wrong with you today?” Kuroo cocks his head at Bokuto. They’re both lazing on the couch after practice stoutly ignoring the existence of homework. “You took a ball to the chest today. Are you upset about Akaashi and Kenma dating? Or did you fail another math quiz?”
“What? No! Are you?”
Dammit. I need Keiji here to be my wingman. Now that he’s dating Kenma I can’t use him like I did before.
Kuroo’s face crinkles in confusion. “No. I’m happy for them. Just worried you’re not taking it well. I know you and Akaashi are super close. And you don’t like secrets.”
“I am a little upset they lied, but I’m happy for them.” Bokuto gives a soft smile. “Keiji never really acts like a kid or has fun, so it’s nice to see he’s doing what,” a smirk slips across his face, “no, who, he wants now.” He gives a few silent snorts.
Kuroo gives him a flat look of disgust back. “I REALLY could’ve lived without that image in my head.”
“What? You’ve said before that you think Keiji’s really pretty!”
“His is! But Kenma’s my childhood friend.” He closes his eyes and cringes. “It’s like thinking about one of your siblings having sex. Makes me want to barf and wash my eyes out with bleach. And then drink the bleach with a tidbit of magic eraser mixed in.”
Huh. Well. One down?
“Oioioi? You’re telling me you’ve been imagining my setter naked?” He covers his mouth and gives a dramatic gasp. “Maybe that’s why you kept losing in our matches. Eyes were on the wrong prize.” Before Kuroo can respond, Bokuto crawls closer to him. “Want me to tell you what he looks like naked?”
Don’t say yes. Don’t say yes. Don’t say yes. Don’t say—
Kuroo pushes Bokuto’s face away from him. “Dude. No. Just cause Akaashi is pretty doesn’t mean I want to see him naked. He’s not my type.”
That’s two for two. Initialize flirting?
Bokuto pushes both his lips out in a pout. “I’m starting to think you don’t have a type. You haven’t dated anyone in years!”
Since a few months after we met, but I haven’t really been counting. At least not counting anything smaller than months. And that’s just cause Keiji sends me a reminder every month on the 17th since I confessed to him. It’s like he enjoys reminding me of my failures.
Kuroo’s eyes dart away from him and he starts chewing on his bottom lip.
Bokuto’s heart dips. He wasn’t always the best with social cues, but he knew that one. He’d seen it many times before.
“No way. You like someone!” He jumps on top of Kuroo ready to tickle the information from him. “Bro! You’ve been keeping a secret like that from me for years now? Whoooo?” He positions his fingers in pre-tickle pose.
Kuroo looks straight at him and gives that cat-like smirk he gives when trying to piss someone off. “Don’t worry, bro. It’s unrequited. That’s why I haven’t said anything.”
“So it is Keiji.” Bokuto hums back for confirmation. Akaashi was too pretty to not have an unrequited crush on. Bokuto knew firsthand and he’s seen the throngs of admirers he had.
“What? No!” Kuroo shakes his head and laughs. “Starting to think I might have a better chance at dating him than my crush though.” He sighs.
“Uh. Do you not remember that I told you Kenma bites?” Bokuto reasons. Attempts at reasoning. Surely fear of being bitten would be enough to sway him.
“Duh. Do you really think Kenma’s never bitten me? I pushed him into volleyball and took away his games. Pretty sure I have an impression of all his teeth on my leg.”
Bokuto gives a snort. “Secondly, who in their right mind wouldn’t want to date you? Are you suuurrreee it’s unrequited? Because I’m not buying it!”
Kuroo gives him a soft sad smile. “I’m sure, dude. Don’t worry about it.”
Bokuto pouts and wraps Kuroo into a hug. He may be in love with him, but he didn’t like seeing his best bro sad. He was going to figure out who it was that Kuroo likes and make his desires a reality. That’s what bros were for.
. . .
[Bokuto]: who does Kuroo like??/
[Kenma]: How did you get this number?
[Bokuto]: I’ve had ur number
[Bokuto]: nvm. Spill!
[Kenma]: Maybe you should ask him.
[Bokuto]: I did!
[Bokuto]: he said it’s not u or Keiji!
[Bokuto]: who else could it b??
[Bokuto]: and he said it’s unrequited!
[Bokuto]: who in their right mind???????
[Kenma]: Who in their right mind, indeed.
[Kenma]: I’m not telling.
[Bokuto]: Does Keiji know?
[Kenma]: ofc. How dare you? He’s not stupid.
[Bokuto]: just give me a hint
[Kenma]: The hint is:
[Kenma]: Take a hint
[Bokuto]: what does that mean??
. . .
Bokuto’s sitting on his bed going between scrolling on his computer and sneaking glances at Kuroo playing a game in the common area. He still hadn’t figured out Kenma’s hint and Akaashi wasn’t being any help either. Kuroo still seemed down. Bokuto had tried following him around a bit to try to figure out who Kuroo came into contact with that could potentially be his crush, but he came up blank. Since he couldn’t figure it out and Kuroo was feeling down, he was going to send Kuroo flowers. He always seemed to enjoy it before, so why not now? The only trick to it was making sure they were delivered at a time where Kuroo would both be home and would be the only one to open the door.
He decides to go for all the cheesiness he can manage. Red amaryllis since red is Kuroo’s favorite color, peppered with white dittany, and a touch of yellow acacia. He’d picked out a coffee mug (Kuroo had started drinking coffee by the pot since they’d started college) saying ‘you’re purrfect’ and opted to have it filled with kisses. Basically, the only other thing he could do to push his love without admitting it was send balloons saying, ‘I love you’, and hiring a band to serenade him while Bokuto presented him with a volleyball or other prized possession. Which was not entirely out of the question.
Order placed, he closes his laptop and looks back over to Kuroo, who seems totally vested in his game. He’s even got his face scrunched up and is leaning toward one side to make things work better.
“What’s wrong bro? You keep staring.” Kuroo asks without looking away from the TV. “Don’t think you’re not invited to play.”
“Nuthin’. Just thinking.”
Kuroo’s head jolts back slightly. “Thinking, huh?” He pauses the game and looks at Bokuto. “What’s so bad that you’d spend time thinking about?”
Bokuto’s face lights up into a devious smirk. “You would not believe your eyes.”
“No” Kuroo whispers back in horror.
“If ten million fireflies” He hops up from his bed still grinning like a mad man.
Kuroo jumps up, closes Bokuto’s door before he can get out, and holds it closed. “No!”
. . .
“Have fun at your parent’s, bro!” Kuroo calls to Bokuto as they gather things after practice.
“Will do! Don’t set anything on fire!”
“Dude. With you gone, there’s like a 100% chance that nothing will catch on fire.”
Bokuto purses his lips and gives Kuroo a flat look back. He may forget that he’s left things on, but he wasn’t the one with the stolen Bunsen burner doing science experiments for the hell of it. At least, he wasn’t the one to start the science experiments. No way in hell he wasn’t going to play with fire when offered.
“Okay, okay.” Kuroo shrugs. “Like a 95% chance that nothing will catch on fire.”
Hopefully that includes the gift you’ll be getting in a couple of hours~
Bokuto ran to the station as soon as he got out of the gym. He loved his parents and were excited to see them, but more than anything, he wanted some distance between him and Kuroo right now. Rejection had never really been his sort of thing. Not that it was really anyone’s sort of thing. It’s just that he cried. He couldn’t help it. He knew he was a baby. He got teased about it a lot playing for Fukurodani. Regardless, it was one thing to be able to hide at his parent’s or run to Akaashi’s to hide, but it was just sad to share a dorm with someone that had just rejected you while sobbing into your pillow.
Hours pass and there’s nothing from Kuroo. Later he gets an email confirmation that the flowers had been delivered and signed for by one Kuroo Tetsurou. Still nothing.
The whole weekend he gets no response. Not that he even tries to contact Kuroo. The quietness coming from Kuroo makes Bokuto not want to go back to dorms. It was one thing to get rejected and ugly cry into your pillow. It was another thing to get rejected, lose your best bro and roommate, and then let them listen to you ugly cry into your pillow until you pass out. And then see them the next morning. And at volleyball practice.
Yup. Sending him flowers was a royal fuck up.
Bokuto trudges back to the dorm Sunday evening. His heart is bouncing back and forth between heart attack speeds and death. He’s hoping it’ll pick one before he gets to his room because either way he won’t have to face Kuroo. Maybe he’d even get sympathy or forgiveness if he was on his deathbed. Or dead.
He hesitates outside the dorm door, hand on handle, and staring at feet.
Just smile. Flowers were nothing romantic at all. Nope. Just bros being bros. Sending him flowers to cheer him up cause his crush is unrequited. Yup. I’d send anyone flowers. Maybe I should send Keiji some just to make it less weird. Washio deserves some flowers.
His phone dings and he quickly grabs it looking for any opportunity to procrastinate. Akaashi had texted him that he’d failed to ask Kuroo out for another month.
It’s like he has these messages queued. Or it’s in his planner.
The door opens in front of him while he’s typing a snarky response. Kuroo’s there looking bewildered and a bit high strung. Bokuto pockets his phone hoping that he didn’t catch a glimpse of what Akaashi’s text had said. Dying on his own terms was preferable.
“Hey, man.” Kuroo relaxes slightly and leans against the door, blocking Bokuto from entering.
Bokuto’s eyes flash toward the door before he looks at Kuroo and flashes his most radiant nothing-could-ever-be-wrong-please-don’t-hate-me-I-like-you-a-lot smile. “Hey! Hey! Hey! You trying to hide something you set on fire over the weekend?” He leans in closer acting suspiciously. “Or have your orgy partners not left yet?”
Kuroo gives a small snort before pulling Bokuto inside. There’s no flowers, burns, or orgy partners to be seen. It was just the common area, though. There was an infinite world of possibly hiding behind bedroom door number one. Or two. They weren’t really numbered. If they were, Bokuto would have been number one because the was number one in his book. He tries to hide his disappointment.
“Why don’t you put your stuff down? We need to talk.”
Welp. Goodbye cruel world. Maybe I can find a new bro. Maybe Keiji will feel sorry enough for me that he steps up to that position. Hopefully there’s an empty dorm room or someone looking for a roommate. The commute from home would be aw—
Kuroo slaps Bokuto on the back. “Nobody died and you’re not getting cut from the team. Chill, man.” He gives a small laugh that even the ever oblivious Bokuto could tell was from nervousness.
He quickly scampers to his room and shuts the door. He throws his stuff down and paces back and forth a few times before grabbing his phone to call Akaashi. He couldn’t call Akaashi though. Kuroo would hear. Plus, Akaashi had sworn off helping him. He gives a groan and reapplies some deodorant. He didn’t want his nervous sweat to be on the list of reasons why his crush rejects him. He’d always be self-conscious about sweating then. Volleyball would be a nightmare! No way in hell he was going to let that happen! There were lines that just shouldn’t be crossed!
When he emerges, the flowers he’d sent have appeared on the coffee table. Kuroo is sipping coffee from the mug that came with them and a few, probably the only ones remaining, kisses are sitting on the table close by the flowers. Kuroo never liked to admit it, but he had more of a sweet tooth than he let on.
“Mm!” Kuroo finishes swallowing the coffee in his mouth and pats the couch next to him. “Come sit!”
Hmm. Hard pass. You’re making me feel like I’m in the principal’s office. No good memories come from that.
Bokuto plops down on the opposite side of the couch and gives Kuroo another radiant smile. “Sooo—”
Kuroo pulls a mug with candy in it from behind him and presents it before Bokuto can attempt to say anything else.
Okay. Presents in the principal’s office. Kinda weird, but I can roll with this.
He eyes it for a second before looking back up at Kuroo who’s grinning and blushing at him. “Thanks, man!” He takes it from Kuroo to admire it. It was a white and blue mug with an owl on one side and the words ‘owling like a boss’ on the other. He’d stuffed sour gummy worms inside. Bokuto grins and tears open the package.
“It’s a lot weirder giving each other stuff in person.” Kuroo comments now looking away from Bokuto.
“Bro. Like I’d ever not appreciate anything you got for me.” Bokuto scoffs back while chewing a gummy worm. If his stomach was dirt the gummy worm was about to find a great place to live.
“My bro.” Kuroo clutches his hand on his heart and dramatically looks wistfully at Bokuto. “Say yes to going out to dinner with me?”
Bokuto gives him a confused look. “When have I ever said no to food? Of course!”
“Haaa.” Kuroo sinks into himself slightly. He picks up one of the kisses on the table and fiddles with it before holding it out offering it to Bokuto. “Kiss?”
I’d love one.
A smirk spreads across Bokuto’s face. “I have a game for you. Close your eyes. I’m gonna pick a gummy worm out for you to eat. You gotta tell me what colors it is without looking.”
“But they all taste the same.”
Bokuto scoffs back. “You uncultured swine! They do not! Just close your eyes!”
Kuroo pouts for half a second before setting the kiss back down and closing his eyes. Bokuto scoots in closer to him and rummages in the bag.
Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. Am I actually going to do this? Am I really going to kiss Kuroo?
He swallows painfully before grabbing a gummy worm out of the bag. “Okay! Test round! Eat it and I’ll tell you what colors it is. Open up!”
Kuroo grimaces at him but opens his mouth anyway. Bokuto had convinced him into eat way weirder stuff. Gummy worms were tame compared to some of the other things Bokuto had convinced Kuroo to put in his mouth. He chews slowly, trying to commit the flavors to memory.
“That was orange and blue!”
“It didn’t taste orange and blue.” Kuroo grumbles back.
“Sure, it did! Just remember those flavors! Now,” he rummages in the bad loudly for dramatic effect, “let round one commence!”
Kuroo, ever so obediently, opens his mouth for the next gummy worm. Bokuto feels a churning in his stomach for tricking Kuroo, but he also didn’t feel bad. Not at all. He opens his own mouth slightly, meets Kuroo’s, and tosses the gummy worms on the table. Kuroo jumps a little in surprise, but Bokuto shoves his tongue in Kuroo’s mouth and cups his cheek with his hand. At that, Kuroo relaxes a bit and wraps his arms around Bokuto’s waist to pull him closer.
When Bokuto pulls away, Kuroo’s eyes are half-lidded. He licks his lips and smirks. “Pretty sure that one was Koutarou flavored. It’s my favorite.” He leans in for another quick kiss.
“Wait.” Bokuto pulls away and waves his hands for a time-out, the gears turning in his head. “I’m your crush? Wait. The person you have a crush on?”
Kuroo does a little snort and rests his elbow on his knee, smirking at Bokuto. “Yup. Guess it’s not entirely unrequited though.” He gives a short smile before it falters, and he raises and eyebrow. “Unless you’re drunk or lost a bet?”
“Oh, hell no!” Bokuto clobbers Kuroo with more kisses. “No way in hell it’s unrequited either! Be my non-platonic sowlmate?”
“Of course,” Kuroo wraps one hand around the back of Bokuto’s head and pulls him closer. “You’re purrfect for me.”